I’m so excited to share with you my interview with the dynamic and amazingly talented Sherold Barr.

Sherold is playing a major role in helping create a world where “women experience financial freedom and ease in their life and business.”

She’s the founder of Smart Women Make Money, a program that helps women transform their relationship with money so that they can  manifest more money to support the life they want to live.

As a coach and mentor to women entrepreneurs, she’s spoken at World Domination Summit and been featured on Kris Carr’s Crazy Sexy Life, Roots of She, and a Year With Myself.

GUYS. . .don’t worry! What Sherold’s sharing with us is for you, too.

Many singles have significant money-related blockages, so I know you’ll benefit a great deal from learning about her empowered approach to money.

Plus, she’s going to give you some great ideas for how to talk about and approach money in your relationships.

BARI: Can you share with the Meet to Marry™ community a little bit about your approach to helping people create financial freedom and how you came to specialize in it?

SHEROLD: Back in 2007, I started teaching about money at the request of Martha Beck. Martha—a New York Times bestseller, O Magazine columnist, and life coach—wanted me to create a class for the other life coaches in her training program. It was great to witness the major breakthroughs my classmates were having with their money issues.

I personally discovered what the term “financial freedom” meant in the late 90s when my first business—a boutique PR firm—grossed half a million dollars after just four years.

It wasn’t just the money that made me free. I realized that I didn’t have any money beliefs blocking me from asking for—and earning—that amount of money. This was true freedom—a freedom that I’d never known when I was working for other people’s companies.

Now I’m in my second successful business, and I’ve been teaching money classes for the past four years.

I am great at manifesting jobs, beautiful places to live, and all kinds of things. I know that having a strong desire and belief that I can do it are key. I use everything to manifest and take action to make my dreams come true and that is what I teach now.

BARI: Wow. I love that, especially the part about not having money beliefs blocking you. Can you tell us how spoken or unspoken belief systems from our childhood and our parents’ views on money affect our current perspectives on it?

SHEROLD: One of the most important things you can do to improve your financial situation is to understand your money story.

It’s important to identify your existing relationship with money—what you say about money, how you feel about it, what you believe about it, and how you use it.

We all think that circumstances cause us to think a certain way. “The economy is bad,” we say. Or maybe we think that a person or particular situation is the problem.

Your thoughts create your reality.

One of our last true freedoms in life is the ability to choose how we think about a circumstance. You have the power to decide how you think about any situation in your life.

Your thoughts about a situation drive your feelings/emotions that in turn drive your behaviors and actions in the world, which lead to the results you have right now in your life.

It’s so important to understand your feelings about money because your past experiences, feelings, thoughts and beliefs will drive your behavior – consciously and unconsciously.

One of the first things to do is become conscious of your money story and begin to study your mode of operation (MO).

I encourage people to start with their family money legacy.

Your money beliefs are the “root cause” of your money issues. Families have sayings and their own stories about money. These sayings or beliefs are passed down from generation to generation and never questioned.

I ask people, “What is the family legacy you grew up with regarding money?” I ask them to look at their family’s social status and beliefs around money.

My grandparents lived through the Depression and my mother was born during the Depression. Her experience around money is very different from mine. I grew up hearing that money doesn’t grow on trees. My father used to say that you had to work “hard” in order to be successful. That belief is hardwired into my subconscious, and I constantly have to be aware of whether I am “working hard” – long hours, working through lunch, not exercising, and not taking enough time off.

I ask people to begin to study the patterns, beliefs, or behaviors they witnessed growing up that shaped their money legacy. If you can become conscious of these beliefs, then you can understand how your money behaviors might be similar to your parents.

BARI: That is so useful and so in sync with what we’re doing inside of Finding The One in terms of becoming aware of the stories—conscious or unconscious—about love, relationships, and self-worth that singles are telling themselves and which are often the root cause of whatever is getting in their way of finding the right person.

Can you share with us some of the most effective ways of changing or transcending any limiting childhood perspectives on money and finances so that we can thrive as happy, healthy, and prosperous adults?

SHEROLD: First of all, you want to become aware of what you experienced as a child.

I ask everyone in my classes to find out what their family said about money, describe the family emotions about money, and write down any traumatic experiences they personally had with money. For instance, if a parent lost a job and this drastically changed a family’s economic status, there is probably a lesson that was learned that became a belief.

I call these “defining moments” and ask people what are they making this situation mean. What lesson or take away was formed in their minds as a result of this experience? For example, if this happened in my family, I might have experienced it as a traumatic event. I might have made it mean that I would never let that happen to me, and I might become driven to overachieve to avoid experiencing this painful situation in my own life.

The second step is understand your own money beliefs and to take a hard look at your own money behaviors.

Are you a spender, saver, miser or avoider with money? How is this similar to one of your parents?

Once you understand it, the next step is behavior change. You become an observer of your money habits and behaviors. Are you an emotional spender to self-soothe? Are you afraid to spend money on yourself?

Then ask yourself, “How is this working for me?” If it’s not working, change it.

BARI: This is so important! So often we think we know what the problem is or imagine that we don’t have any issues from the past, but I’ve found that we all have what you call “defining moments” in relation to love and relationships, and it’s absolutely essential to become aware of them.

What are some tips can you offer specifically to singles in terms of approaching money from a place of empowerment rather than fear?

SHEROLD: I would encourage everyone – singles and married couples – to be willing to look at all of their finances.

I see a lot of people who will not look at their finances for fear of what they might see. This avoidance is actually worse than any reality, and if you resist looking at your finances, it will create more stress and anxiety.

So make a special money practice.

Pick a night that you will pay your bills or work on finances. Set the mood – light a candle, get a cup of tea or a glass of wine, sit down and breathe.

Take tiny steps to practice courage with money. We don’t realize how much of our power we give away to money. Money is just energy, an exchange for value, yet we are afraid of it.

I recommend walking to the edge of what scares you because that is where you find your freedom. It’s on the other side of fear. The more you act with courage around money, the more empowered you will become.

BARI: Totally! Based on your experience, how do money fears affect a relationship?

SHEROLD: Money can be a cause of conflict in relationships.

Everyone should understand their money personality and learn to work with their partners.

Differences are okay.

For example, if I am spender and my husband is a saver and we’re working as a team to achieve common money goals, these differences are okay. In fact, they might us achieve good balance. If we’re not working as a team, those differences might become a major source of conflict.

I encourage everyone to “Know Thyself” – understand your mode of operation with money.

Ask yourself:  What does money mean to me? Does it mean power, independence, or freedom or does it represent security and control? How do your own beliefs about money get acted out in your daily life? If I have a high need for security, what is my fear and how is it impacting my partner?

It’s super important to have money dates or a money practice where you both look at your finances and know what you have and know how much you are spending.

The more you talk, the better.

Create shared values – what do you as a couple want? Is it to save a certain amount of money each month? Do you value travel and are you saving for a trip? Are you spending according to your life values? These are all important questions to answer.

BARI: That leads me right to my next question. Can you tell us more about how people with different money styles can make their relationship work in a peaceful, empowered way?

SHEROLD: First of all talk about money before you get married.

Money is often a taboo subject and difficult to talk about it.

Create mutual money goals so that you have the same money goals.

If two people are not on the same page with money, there will be greater potential for conflict. So I encourage both people to talk about what they value in life.

Set goals for your life together and get crystal clear on what you want.

BARI: I notice that all couples seem to handle money differently—with different styles and backgrounds. My husband and I merged all of our money immediately—it was one for all. And with other couples, I notice that they keep their money separate. What advice do you have for couples when it comes to merging finances and having a peaceful and prosperous experience?

SHEROLD: As I mentioned earlier, talk about money. Make date nights or a money night to talk.

My friends handle their money with their partners in all sorts of ways. I like to encourage people to consider themselves equal so that power doesn’t cause a conflict. What one person earns doesn’t give them the power over the other or more rights. Talk about it and meet in the middle. There is no substitute for talking and for planning together.

I recommend that every woman have a separate credit card in her name so she has credit. I found this out the hard way after my first marriage. My name was on the card but not as a primary cardholder. I had no credit.

Couples can have one joint account and each have a separate account.

The goal is for both people to feel a partnership – like they are moving towards the same goals. Talk about money goals and finances on a regular basis.

I recommend that all women learn how to handle their money and learn how to save and invest. Starting to learn something you fear is a way to conquer it.

BARI: Do you and your husband share the same money views and styles? How does the dynamic work in your marriage and what have you learned?

SHEROLD: My husband and I share a checking account, but I have my own personal and business accounts. We are basically all for one as you are with your husband. However, I think this varies with couples.

When I met John, I was a saver. We were living together, and I needed to have my taxes done, so we went together to his accountant. His accountant took a look at my finances and said, “John, you have a saver!”

I was a single mom and I saved all I could and lived within my means. I can spend too and since John grew up without a lot of money, he felt uncomfortable spending money on himself. I liked to joke that I was in his life to show him how to spend. Seriously, we are both on the same page with our finances.

Right now we are doing a clean sweep with regard to all our finances. We are redoing our wills, we set a money date to review our spending, we are cleaning up our financial files, and we are doing a new expense budget since we recently moved into a new house.

We have worked at discussing our finances in a non-stressful atmosphere. We make a date night around money. I have been the one in our marriage that knows the real estate market, so I have taken the lead in purchasing and selling real estate and John has been the one who invests our money. Now I am hiring a female friend who is a financial planner to help me learn how to manage my IRAs.

I realize that we women will outlive our husbands on average by five years. I do not want to be in a grief situation and learn how to take care of my finances. This happens more than you think.

One last tip – we women give our power away when we let our partner handle the finances.

In full disclosure, I have done this and I have worked to shift it because I do not want to wake up and not know how to handle finances. I tell my people that working with money is a journey, not a destination. Make it as pleasant as possible.

BARI: This is so illuminating and helpful. Thank you so much! How can the members of our Meet to Marry™ community learn more about you and your work?

SHEROLD: My pleasure.

You can click here to get a free copy of my recently released digital manifesto—10 Things I Wish I’d Known Before I Was 30: Hard Won Lessons for an Awakened Life.

I also welcome you to explore my site: http://sheroldbarr.com.